I hope this finds you well and that you're enjoying the summer. Along with spending some time with Melissa and Molly this month, my staff and I are working on several community priorities and preparing a number of important policy initiatives for the city council's autumn session.
I do hope you find my latest update to you both interesting and informative.
Metrolinx puts Scarborough transit improvements work on hold
The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, announced yesterday that they will be stopping all work on the Scarborough LRT project due to the Mayor and Council's irresponsible decision to pursue an unnecessary, unfunded 3 stop subway extension in Scarborough. The provincial government has clearly stated that they are not providing any new funding in addition to the $1.4 billion already allocated for the LRT and the federal government has not indicated that any new funds will be made available. Toronto's mayor and council have also voted to raise the city's debt by over half a billion dollars, and property taxes to service that debt, during this year's budget process to (in my opinion) fund the wrong subway project. In fact, Toronto's evidence-based next subway expansion project should be the DRL, as our current system is already facing capacity challenges. And for the time being, it sadly appears that Scarborough residents will be stuck on a bus instead of receiving a fully funded, 7 stop, traffic-separated Light Rapid Transit Line that would serve more residents. I still have hope that things will get back on track.
Public Works in Toronto
While it is certainly is frustrating and can be an aggravation, most residents recognize that repairs to our city's infrastructure are necessary. In fact, our community would be upset if these needed projects weren't completed. However, we expect that it be done well and that does not excuse the poor communication and coordination City Transportation has exhibited for many years on several projects throughout the city, including on Avenue Road.
Please see my website for the latest updates on the Avenue Road permanent road repair project. I am also closely monitoring works in Rathnelly, Chaplin estates and throughout Ward 22.
Honest Advertising for Proposed Condo Developments
While Toronto's planning process provides forums for resident participation, many community members are under the impression that a development has already been approved due to misleading advertising. At the beginning of the application review process, local residents are generally confronted with on-site, billboard, print and other advertising depicting a building that will be "coming soon" with no mention of a municipal approval process, opportunity for citizen input or that the rendering can be altered. My motion, passed by Council this spring, asks the province to require that developers ensure that a quarter of their advertising clearly state the factual status of their proposal. The City is waiting for the province's decision.
Ontario Government Launches "Stepping Up"
This summer, the Province of Ontario launched Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed. It was developed in response to a recommendation in the comprehensive Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and the Honourable Roy McMurtry. Youth violence is a serious priority for Toronto residents. I strongly support implementing the recommendations in the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence and welcome this contribution from the provincial government.
As I have written to you in my recent updates, I am leading my colleagues at City Hall to take action to address youth violence in Toronto. In July, my initiative to create a Youth Equity Framework was approved by City Council. Using the Framework, City staff are developing a strategy for September so that all City departments and community stakeholders are on the same page, working together to support the most marginalized youth in Toronto who are most likely to be involved in or victimized by violence.
Help Keep Intersections Safe!
If you see a stop sign or traffic signal obstructed by trees or summer vegetation, I urge you to report your sightings by calling 311 or by visiting 311's website. Be sure to include a specific location by providing details such as the nearest cross-street(s) and any other information which may be relevant in order to clear the obstruction efficiently. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe by reporting dangerous vegetation growth!
A New Mural for the Beltline
This past year, Friends of the Beltline have devoted considerable efforts to getting a mural painted on the Eglinton Avenue underpass. This accomplishment is sure to make a bright and welcoming improvement to the underpass and will fit well with our community's green space! Be sure to check out the mural the next time you're on the Beltline Trail.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved who worked hard to make this happen, notably Ward 22 resident Donna Koegl and Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff.
Eglinton 2020 Annual General Meeting
This year, the Eglinton 2020 Annual General Meeting is being held at the Northern District Library (40 Orchard View Blvd.) on Wednesday, August 14th, from 6:30 to 8 pm.
Eglinton 2020 brings together diverse groups, businesses and individuals who wish to discuss the impact of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT on the community and commercial life along the Eglinton corridor. This year's guest speaker, Edward J. Levy, will speak about the history and implementation of rapid transit in the Toronto region.
Live Green Membership Survey
The Environment & Energy Division of the City of Toronto is conducting a survey about the Live Green Toronto Membership Card program. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Your feedback will help to identify ways to enhance the program, which offers great deals at over 450 businesses.
As a thank you for participating by August 20th, you will be entered to win great prizes such as gift certificates for local businesses. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential.
For more details and to participate, please visit the survey link. The Live Green Toronto team thanks you for your support and all that you do to create a cleaner, greener Toronto!
TTC Notice of Construction
From mid-August 2013 to May 2014, there will be construction on the west side of Yonge Street just north of Merton Street. Construction will occur weekdays between 7 am to 4 pm. The construction includes a new building that will support equipment for the subway signal system and upgrades. This will help make the subway system more reliable and efficient for its daily riders.
The TTC originally wanted to close down a lane of Yonge Street southbound traffic for construction purposes, however I did not support this. As a result of positive discussions I had with the TTC, this lane will now remain open. However, the on-street parking spots and the sidewalk on the west side of Yonge Street will be temporarily closed. I appreciate the TTC for finding alternative solutions to accommodate Yonge Street commuters.
For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.ca.